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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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North Korea puts troops, weapons at border

They appear to be guarding posts closed in 2018 deal

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North Korea appears to have deployed soldiers and weapons to guard posts near the border that were shut in a 2018 deal with South Korea as tensions between the neighbors ratchet up in the wake of Pyongyang’s recent spy satellite launch.

South Korean military officials have spotted activity near the posts inside the Demilitarized Zone since late last week, the Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday. Images provided by the ministry showed a handful of soldiers outside of small posts inside the DMZ, positioning weapons.

Seoul pledged to take corresponding measures, according the statement, hinting at a restoration of South Korean guard posts near the border. South Korea’s military also detected an increase in activity for North Korea’s coastal artillery, according to the statement.

North Korea had detonated 10 of 11 guard posts inside the DMZ in the wake of a summit about five years ago between leader Kim Jong Un and then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in that led to an agreement to reduce tensions along the heavily fortified DMZ dividing the peninsula.

Current President Yoon Suk Yeol, a conservative, has been skeptical about the deal struck by his predecessor, who advocated rapprochement with Pyongyang. Yoon’s government last week suspended part of the 2018 agreement after North Korea put the spy satellite in orbit, with Seoul resuming reconnaissance flights near the border that were suspended under the agreement.

North Korea then announced it intended to scrap the entire accord.

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